Book Chapter

Resisting welfare conditionality: constraint, choice and dissent among homeless migrants



Serpa R (2019) Resisting welfare conditionality: constraint, choice and dissent among homeless migrants. In: Dealing with Welfare Conditionality: Implementation and Effects. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 69-90.

This chapter examines the ways in which welfare conditionality impacts upon homeless migrants in the UK. Legal status, eligibility requirements and behavioural controls determine access to benefits, housing and State assistance, compounding the precarity of homeless migrants who are situated at the interstices of multiple (and competing) systems. The chapter looks how specific conditions both constrain the choices of homeless migrants and how efforts at behavioural change are resisted. Using data from a study of Polish rough sleepers in Scotland, this chapter asks: To what extent is non-participation a consequence of passivity or a feature of active choice? In what ways do those facing extreme precarity and constrained choice resist welfare conditionality? The study argues that for some rough sleepers, homelessness can be a form of resistance to eligibility and behavioural conditions attached to welfare and sleeping rough can be an act of dissent to forms of State control.

homelessness; migration; resistance; precarity; conditionality

FundersHeriot-Watt University
Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online19/09/2019
PublisherPolicy Press
Place of publicationBristol

People (1)


Dr Regina Serpa

Dr Regina Serpa

Lecturer in Housing, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology